The expression of ammonia monooxygenase encoding mRNA (amoA mRNA) in a wastewater treatment process was analyzed in an attempt to propose an effective target for the monitoring of nitrifying bacteria in engineered systems or natural environments. The quick response (1-2 h) of amoA mRNA transcription to the recovery of ammonia oxidation activity induced by the sudden exposure to ammonia was observed in a short-time batch-mode incubation whereas the amount of amoA DNA did not markedly change during the incubation under any conditions. In the continuous feeding-operation, amoA mRNA level dynamically changed in response to the change in the surrounding environmental conditions and increase in ammonia oxidation rate. Although, amoA mRNA level did not quickly respond to the decrease in ammonia oxidation activity, it decreases over long time scales. These results suggest that the profiles of amoA mRNA expression can be used as an indicator of the ammonia oxidation activity.
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